Scary Foods Facts…And How To Avoid Them
Food, quite simply, can be medicine or poison.
What’s really scary are all the ingredients running around dressed up like “food.”
Walk the aisles of your supermarket, stop in a fast-food restaurant, or grab a soda from a vending machine and you’ll find cleverly costumed “foods” laced with harmful substances—added sugars, preservatives, additives, chemical dyes, weird coatings, and flavorings. It is still called food, but it’s absolutely unnecessary for your body — even deadly.
That’s why we’re sharing the following scary food facts you absolutely should know.
This isn’t a scare tactic. It’s empowerment. You have the power to consciously decide what you eat every day.
We’ve gathered these “scary foods facts” and also paired them up with easy health tips that will help you avoid them. You can make more informed, healthier choices and create your very own SuperLife. There’s nothing scary about that!
SCARY FOOD FACT 1:
Up first, added sugars. Added sugar wreaks havoc with your health. I’m talking about sugars that are added to foods or beverages when they are processed or prepared, which doesn’t include naturally occurring sugars in whole foods.
Added sugars are addicting and deadly and they are in everything. But you can avoid them. The best place to start is by eliminating ultra-processed foods. There is NOTHING in them your body needs.
A 2016 study published in BMJ Open found that ultra-processed foods contributed 89.7% of American’s daily intake of added sugars.
When a food isn’t eaten directly from the plant, it is considered processed. So some processed foods are good for you, like canned or frozen fruits and vegetables or oils like coconut or olive oil. But ultra-processed foods are the scariest ones.
WHAT IS AN ULTRA-PROCESSED FOOD?
Ultra-processed foods contain other ingredients not traditionally used in cooking including unhealthy amounts of salt, sugar, oils and fats, and also artificial flavors, colors, sweeteners, and other additives “used to imitate sensorial qualities of unprocessed or minimally processed foods.” Plus manufacturers will use preservatives and chemicals that give these foods an unnaturally long shelf-life.
Avoid ultra-processed, packaged foods. Instead, reach for whole foods first. If you eat enough whole foods, you won’t have room left for the other kinds of “foods.”
SCARY FOOD FACT 2:
When we think about sugar in our diet, candy or soft drinks (which we usually think of first) aren’t the only offenders. Cereal, salad dressings, yogurt, juices, sauces, you name it: 80% of the 600,000+ food products in America have sugar added to them. Added sugar is everywhere!
Avoid processed foods, read your labels, and don’t buy packaged foods with added sugars or artificial sweeteners. Each amount of added sugar adds up to create a huge negative impact on your health and your body.
SCARY FOOD FACT 3:
Your daily sweet, sugary drink most likely contains genetically modified organisms (GMOs) in the form of sugar, high fructose corn syrup and other artificial additives.
Straight from the CocaCola website itself: These five very popular items contain GMOs among many other items produced by CocaCola.
- Coke (and all Coke flavor variants: Diet, Life & Zero)
- DASANI (Drops, Flavors & Sparkling)
- Hi-C & MinuteMaid Lemonade
- Powerade (& Powerade Zero)
- Vitaminwater (& Vitaminwater Zero)
Don’t believe me? They’re proud to list these ingredients on their official ‘CocaCola Proud Facts’ website.
Drink more water. Avoid the GMOs, the sugar, and all the other chemical additives. They are not creating health. Water makes up two-thirds of our bodies and the majority of Americans aren’t getting enough of it.
SCARY FOOD FACT 4:
Aluminum cans are lined with BPA, which is a hormone-disrupting toxin otherwise known as Bisphenol A. This chemical is found in plastic bottles, glass jar lids, and the lining of food-containing tins and cans. In your body, BPA acts similar to estrogen, and it has been linked to behavioral problems, reproductive issues, and obesity.
You can limit your exposure to BPA by using only glass, plastic bottles or cans labeled BPA-free. Glass is always best.
SCARY FOOD FACT 5:
Most juices are a pure hit of sugar. 1 cup of apple juice contains 24 grams of sugar and if the bottle says it is from concentrate, then it most likely contains even more than that.
Drinking juice is not the same as eating a piece of fresh, whole fruit.
Here’s how dramatically choosing a whole food over juice changes your health: “A large-scale study published in the British Medical Journal found that people who ate fruit at least twice a week—especially apples, blueberries, and grapes—were up to 23 percent less likely to develop type 2 diabetes than those who ate fruit no more than once a month. But subjects who drank fruit juice once a day or more had an increased risk of developing diabetes, up to 21 percent higher than those who did not.” (SuperLife, pg. 14).
Skip the juice and eat the whole fruit! If you’re craving the flavor of juice, try infusing water with real fruit for the added flavor without all of the sugar. Or drink real coconut water, an excellent source for electrolyte replacement with less sugar, naturally.
RELATED READING: PUNCH BORING WATER IN THE FACE WITH INFUSED WATER!
SCARY FOOD FACT 6:
The huge amounts of sugar in candy are scary, but artificial food coloring is just as bad. Kids are especially sensitive to this toxic additive. Look out for any and all “artificial food coloring” as it has been linked to behavioral problems in kids like ADHD, asthma, and even cancer when consumed in large quantities. Need a chocolate fix? Skip the M&Ms with the artificial food coloring on the outside and try 100% real cacao chocolate wafers. Plus, there is no added sugar and the cacao has medicinal benefits for your body. I never leave home without them!
Look for organic products colored with real ingredients such as beets (for red) turmeric (for yellow) carrots (for orange) and spinach (for green). If you are looking to buy a food that looks like it might be dyed, look for the line, “Contains no artificial colors, flavors, or preservatives.”
SCARY FOOD FACT 7:
Food manufacturers will use just about anything to make food more appealing to you! In addition to the food dyes for bright tantalizing colors, they will even use…bug feces? Many candies with a shiny, hard shell, including Tootsie Rolls, jellybeans, and candy corn are actually coated with something called Shellac (which is also called confectioner’s glaze on some labels) is actually made from a resin excreted by the female lac beetle, indigenous to India and Thailand. Yes, you read that right. No, I’m not making it up. The resin is processed into flakes, dissolved in denatured alcohol to make liquid shellac, and then sprayed on food products or used to make lacquer for hardwood floors and furniture.
If you are going to treat yourself to a jelly bean (which will have high amounts of sugar) look for natural versions of jelly beans and all other wax coated candy.
SCARY FOOD FACT 8:
The USDA knows that there is ammonia in your food but they don’t require it to be labeled.
For example: ‘Hamburger’ meat from your average fast food restaurant is sourced from multiple factories and combined into one large batch before it is doused with ammonia to ‘decontaminate’ it from possible pathogens such as e.coli. This also makes it nearly impossible to investigate the source of an e.coli outbreak if one were to occur from any specific fast food chain.
Consider opting for a veggie patty instead. Or, if you choose to eat meat, make sure you know where the meat is coming from and prepare it yourself or look for places offering ‘grass fed’ or ‘pasture raised’ options.
SCARY FOOD FACT 9:
McDonald’s French fries (& most other fast food chains) in America contain five times as many (chemical) ingredients compared to French fries in other countries.
Make your own French fries at home using a few sliced potatoes, salt pepper and olive oil in your own oven. Up the ante and try making sweet potato fries!
SCARY FOOD FACT 10:
Subway’s marketing slogan may be ‘eat fresh’ but think twice before ordering your next breakfast sandwich as their eggs contain more than you’d think. Check out this ingredient list straight from their website: Whole eggs, egg whites, nonfat dry milk, water. Contains 2% or less of the following: soybean oil, liquid butter alternative (liquid and hydrogenated soybean oil, salt, soy lecithin, natural flavor, tocopherols (vitamin E), corn starch, salt, xanthan gum, citric acid, white pepper, beta-carotene (color)
Read your ingredients labels. Even if it’s not available to you on the menu, take the time to go online and do your own research before your next purchase.
You can download the PDF here:
SCARY FOOD FACT 11:
Do you know what’s in your Starbucks Pumpkin Spice Latte? More than 50 grams of sugar in a ‘grande’ size 16 oz. cup. That’s the total amount the World Health Organization says you should eat in A WHOLE DAY! (And even that is way too much). You also are getting natural flavors, potassium sorbate, mono and diglycerides, carrageenan, potassium sorbate, citric acid, and sulfating agents. It’s a huge hit of sugar and fake ingredients your body can’t recognize.
I know it’s a holiday favorite, so try making your own instead! The internet is full of ways to make your own healthy version of this holiday treat! Look for dairy-free, sugar-free options. Meeting a friend or working at a coffee shop? Instead order tea (organic if possible). A great fall option is Chai tea, but make sure it’s from a tea bag that is seeped and not made from a sugary syrup.
SCARY FOOD FACT 12:
Taco Bell’s ‘taco meat’ is only 36% beef. The list of ingredients in their ‘taco meat’ also includes cellulose, maltodextrin, oats (contains wheat), soy lecithin, sugar, citric acid, natural flavors (including smoke flavor), torula yeast, cocoa, disodium inosinate & guanylate, dextrose, lactic acid, modified corn starch and sodium phosphates.
Avoid fast food chains all together, as their main purpose is to profit from the food they sell. They put the majority of their money into advertising leaving little to nothing in the budget when it comes to purchasing quality ingredients. They also purposely alter the food to make it more addictive and keep you coming back. ALWAYS pack snacks for the road, travel with a small cooler stocked with blended protein smoothies, fresh fruits, veggies, nut butters, hummus, wraps and or salads to help you avoid those food cravings.
SCARY FOOD FACT 13:
Conventional (non-organic) peaches can be coated with up to nine different chemical pesticides before being shipped to the supermarket. But that not the worst one! In the EWG’s 2016 Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides in Produce™, strawberries tested for up to 17 different pesticides on a single berry!
If you’re budget doesn’t allow you to buy 100% organic, opt for non-organic produce that requires peeling (such as avocados or pineapples) as it is less likely that you will be consuming as many pesticides as with food that you eat the peel (such as peaches).
SCARY FOOD FACT 14:
Pesticides and herbicides kill – that’s their job. They are sprayed on our food to eliminate insects that eat plants and destroy crops. But if something can kill a bug, do we really think it’s going to be healthy for us?
Buy organic or from local farmers at farmers markets that routinely use organic methods and natural insect repellents.
SCARY FOOD FACT 15:
Most developed nations do not consider GMOs to be safe and have significant restrictions or outright bans on the production and sale of GMOs. The United States and Canadian governments, though, have approved GMOs based on studies conducted by the same corporations that created them and profit from their sale. Conflict of interest, anyone?
Organic means ‘Non-GMO’ and you can rest assured that when you buy organic you are also buying NON-GMO. The most common crops that are known to be ‘GMO’ in America are: alfalfa, canola, corn, cotton, papaya, soy, sugar beet, zucchini and yellow summer squash. Be sure to always purchase these items as organic when trying to avoid GMOs.
SCARY FOOD FACT 16:
Your food is legally allowed to contain titanium dioxide without being listed on the label, which is used to make it appear whiter. The same ingredient is used in sunscreen and paint for the same effect. Some of the most common foods you or your family might be consuming with titanium dioxide include M&Ms, coffee creamer, store-bought frosting and even Ranch dressing.
Make your own similar products at home. Love the flavor of Ranch dressing on your big salads? You’ll love the easy Ranch dressing recipe in my 10-Day Nutrition Program!
SCARY FOOD FACT 17:
Shellac (as I mentioned above made of bug excrement) is also sprayed on grocery store apples to make them shiny and keep them appearing fresh. When you pick an apple fresh from the tree and rub it on your shirt, you will produce a nice shine from the natural waxy protection already present in the apple skin. Nature’s always perfect. But if you wash that apple first, you won’t be able to make it shine as washing it removes the waxy coating. Apples sold in grocery stores must be washed for sanitary reasons and then they are sprayed with a fine mist of shellac to restore the outer skin protection. Without this waxy layer, the washed apples would spoil too quickly.
Buy apples from a farmer’s market that haven’t been sprayed and go pick your own! Buy a produce brush if you can’t make it to your local farmers market. You can scrub your apples, oranges, cucumbers (& other wax coated produce) with a brush under running water. The World Health Organization also suggests adding fresh lemon to help remove the wax coating.
The processed foods you are eating are taking years off your life, making you fat and sluggish, and taking the awesome out of life!
“Every day, we have been taught that it is normal to “ingest dyes, flavorings, preservatives, and all the other nonfood ingredients found in anything packaged or processed—phony stuff that makes our bodies a little phonier. Then add pesticides, herbicides, fungicides, and larvicides from conventionally grown produce, hormones and antibiotics from conventionally raised livestock, and the petrochemicals and other harmful substances that leach into our food from plastic and metal containers. Every day we add a bit more poison to our systems. We’re feeding ourselves things that are actually damaging our nutritional profile, doing the exact opposite of what nutrition is supposed to do.” (SuperLife, pg. 149)
We all deserve to know what’s in our food as we make our daily choices, so we can make the best food choices possible. Stay present, continue to make one conscious food choice at a time.
Do you know other scary food facts? Or have healthy tips to avoid them? Share in the comments below!
Do you have friends and family you think would enjoy this blog? Pass it on!
GET MORE FROM THE BOOK: “SuperLife: The 5 Forces That Will Make You Healthy, Fit, and Eternally Awesome.”
For weekly health tips, cool research, and motivation, sign up for The Weekly SuperCharge.